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The 10 day dig at Wasson Bluff, where the oldest dinosaurs found in Canada can be found, wrapped up last Sunday. Many interesting finds were made and lots of people contributed to make this dig a successful one. Dr. Tim Fedak posted on the Earthquake Dinosaurs's blog a very good summary of the successful project. Click on the link to check it out! http://earthquake-dinosaurs.ca/volunteers-and-science/ I was very proud to have participated in this project! Cheers! - Keenan
redleaf101 posted a topic in Nova Scotia**NOTE** In Nova Scotia, it is illegal to collect fossils or archaeological artifacts without a Heritage Permit or proper authorization. You can message me if you want more info. Hang on tight, my posts are usually long winded! [Taken from my blog: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca] Not too long ago I had made a list of fossil locations I would like to visit when I felt more knowledgeable and honed some of my field work skills. I had told my friend Matt Stimson (who works in the field of palaeontology) that I thought of heading East in Cape Breton sometime in the Summer. He wanted to tag along as he's familiar with the area and wouldn't mind revisiting some of the great locales around Sydney. We decided that we'd spend 3 days in Nova Scotia (August 3rd to 5th, 2012). From Moncton (New Brunswick) to Sydney (Nova Scotia) is about a 5 hour drive one way. On our way to Cape Breton on Friday, we planned to take a little detour to Parrsboro and stop by to see Tim Feydak at Wasson Bluff. As I've mentioned in the past, Wasson Bluff has in its cliffs some of Canada's oldest dinosaurs, prosauropods. Many important scientific contributions were made in this small corner of the world. Tim has taken up the torch and continues the tradition by laboring under the shadow of these red sandstone Triassic cliffs. - Day 1 Matt Stimson (left) and Tim Feydak (center) We swung by and Tim was already at the location working at it. He's been sifting through material for bone fragments from a section of the cliff that was quickly eroding. Shortly after meeting Tim, we were joined by our friend Ken Adams, curator of the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro, and some of its young staff. Some of the crew collecting material from target area Bone in sandstone The tide was coming in, so we decided to give Tim a hand sifting through the material that he had collected. Not only is there bone material from these primitive dinosaurs, but those of ancient reptiles such as crocodiles. Some layers of the cliffs contain bones and teeth of fish such as primitive sharks. We've made a few finds for the short time we were there. These will be brought back to the museum lab for cleaning and prep work. The "Two Brothers" in the background, basalt islands One of the teeth found that day (center, top of rock) After a few hours, we headed out for a bite to eat at one of the local restaurants before hitting the road. The plan was to at least take the 104 East towards Port Hawkesbury, and once crossing the Canso Causeway, to find a camping close to Sydney. Sydney Coal Fields (area of interest in red) We drove for a few hours and we came across the Ben Eoin Beach Resort and Camping Grounds, on the shores of Bras d'Or Lake. The entrance had areas where you could pitch your tent, picnic tables, and spots for starting your campfire. Closer to the lake was a long stretch of land where you could park your camper, with a cabin where you could take your shower. Price was reasonable, and the scenery was beautiful! We threw our tents out and settled for the night. - Day 2 We woke up as the Sun came up, grabbed a bite to eat, and planned our day. There was plenty of time before the tides were low enough to hit our fossil sites in the Sydney area, so Matt suggested we check a quarry before heading to town. Matt getting ready (Quartz vein , rock bearing rubies [center-right to right]) This abandoned quarry bears a regional treasure: Cape Breton rubies! This granite-type hard igneous has rubies which the quality is all over the spectrum. We took our tools and proceeded up the quarry, whacking pieces of this creamy colored ruby gemstone. I've seen one cut before, but its pretty cool to actually get them from the source. Along with the rubies, I also got my hands on some nice quartz crystals from a big vein jutting out vertically from the quarry. Some collected samples Ruby in the rough =) Taking a break, watching grasshoppers doing their business Satisfied with our haul of pretty rocks, we hopped back in the car and headed towards Sydney. Sydney region's areas of interest: 1- Cranberry Point; 2- Point Aconi; 3- Donkin Peninsula First order of business as soon as we rolled in to town was to grab some early dinner. There was still some time before the tides were down, so Matt suggested we go visit the Fossil Center in Sydney Mines. Displays at the Cape Breton Fossil Center, Sydney Mines It was nice to swing by the center to check the type of fossils first hand found in the region. Most of the fossils they have at the center are plants, but man are they nice. The specimens they have are numerous, and in well built displays. We also took a moment to head over their other museum that displayed Sydney's mining past. Megaphyton (tree fern) showing frond scars (elongated oval features) After our visit, we made our way towards Cranberry Point in the Sydney Mines area, stopping at a few places along the way. Many of the coast of the area is elevated, meaning that there are many cliff face to explore, exposing coal seams and various fossils. Fossilized tree This area that the greater Sydney area is located in is described of being part of the Sydney Coal Fields. This section of the island is dominated by Carboniferous Period topography (Nova Scotia Geological Map), contributing to Sydney's rich coal industry. The plants found in these shale are like no other. These articulated plants have been the subject of study since the mid-1860s. Even though there is a rich catalog of fossils, there are still big gaps in the record and much more studying to be done. We were hoping that our weekend would yield more secrets to us. Calamites First location on our list was Cranberry Point, North of Sydney Mines. We had some friends that were at this location recently and confirmed that there were upright trees, mostly bigger than the ones you'd usually see at Joggins, the world famous UNESCO site. Matt had been here in the past, so he knew which roads to take in this maze of houses and cottages. We made our way down Peck Street and Matt was surprised that the road that led to the Point had a brand new house built in its way. We parked the car and walked up to where the old road was and met with the very nice lady that owns the new home. She was very interested by our work and would love for us to drop by after our trek and share what we found. Remains of World War II's past Where Peck Street ends, there's an old dirt road that leads to an old WWII era building, or what's left of it. It sits on a piece of the cliff that is slowly becoming an island. The trail that used to connect the mainland and this quasi-island has eroded away. The only thing that's left is a sheer fall, with a cable dangling down for beach access. That was our way down. Rope access (Gulp!) On to Part 2!
Taken from a June 2011 trip - http://redleafz.blogspot.ca I've since gone to that site so many times I can't remember. This location is as rich in fossil material as it is in minerals. Enjoy! Wasson Bluff - Parrsboro, Nova Scotia Every year the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM) hosts curatorial walks of the many sites located in the Parrsboro area in Nova Scotia. Saturday June 11th the FGM organized a curatorial walk of the Wasson Bluff located a few minutes east of Parrsboro, on Two Islands Road. I had gone only once before last Summer. I was happy to go back as I wanted to find out all the information I could get from Wasson Bluff. Wasson Bluff is a very special place, as the earliest dinosaurs have been discovered in this area. This area has seen the smallest dinosaur foot prints ever found, some of Canada's oldest dinosaurs ever found, and important signs and clues of the ever changing landscape and makeup of the Earth. The curatorial walks are free, and that weekend being tourism week, the admittance to the Fundy Geological Museum exhibit was also free. Me and my friend Craig, along with some other fellas had some time to spare before the walk, so we checked it out. It is well worth it as they have a lot of interactive games and displays, and wonderful specimens on display. By the time we were done the museum, there was still about an hour left before the tour, so we asked for directions on local eats. The friendly staff helped us by pointing out local restaurants not too far in town. We opted for one that was at the end of a street next to the museum on Pier road. The tiny restaurant, the Harbour View, was a home cooking style seafood restaurant and it didn't disappoint. The food was great and the service was good. View of the bay from the restaurant. Wasson Bluff is located further west of the FGM on Two Islands road. It takes a little bit less than 15 minutes. Here's a few pics from the walk: Getting ready for the hike. My friend Craig on the left. The welcome sign at the Wasson Bluff entrance. Hopping down the steep trail. Easier down than up as I would learn coming back up. Finally on the beach! View of Clarke Head. The tip of the cliff is darker basalt/volcanic rock. The gray/greenish-like part of the cliffs is gypsum/salt-like sediments, remains of bodies of water that vanished a long time ago. From there to where I was standing were the different faults and strata that make up the general landscape of this part of Wasson Bluff. Ken Adams, our interpreter, and also the FGM's curator. (Two Islands in the background) Close to the beach entrance you'd get these strata of sandstone and mudstone. These look similar to the carboniferous strata you'd encounter at beaches like Joggins. The sandstone show animal tracks and natural weathering. Ichnofossils (animal tracks) made by ancient animals. Cliff made up of volcanic rock. Sedimentary mud filled with clastic basalt rocks and bone fragments. Clastic basalt fragments in sedimentary silt, signs of the work of continents moving apart. Bone fragment in sedimentary matrix. The picture above seem to show sedimentary mud that would have squeezed in fractures of this volcanic rock, creating the look that we're seeing here. If I remember right, magma would have solidified (could have been underwater), and at a later period silt like mud would have made its way, filling any cavity it could propagate into. The green algae show the level of the tides. Bone fragment in Triassic age rock. In the background you have your greyish volcanic rock. In the foreground you have a mix of wind blown reddish sandstone to other types found in aquatic environment. This is the start of what they call Wasson Bluff, famous site of the many dinosaur bones, some deemed at least the oldest in Canada. The sandstone that bear the multitude of bone fragments are usually the ones that show clastic basalt, as they usually indicate some type of aquatic environment, like watering holes. From what I can remember this would have been a valley where animals would make their way. Several events happened to have retained the animals where they are, to later be unearthed by scientists. Such remains are displayed at the FGM for people to view. The Triassic rock shows cavities where animal specimens had been found and unearthed. The cliff face changes all the time, so there is always a chance to find something. What I found fascinating is that we have this type of site in our own backyard, at our doorstep. There is always that awe factor where you're thinking, some of the oldest animals have walked where you have walked. The features you can find in the earth, the traces of animals long gone, the pieces of a puzzle that help define the history of not just the locality, but the global picture of how things were at one point in time. I have enjoyed Parrsboro and I'm convinced that anybody that goes there would enjoy it. Cheers!